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Grade-by-Grade Homework Help

Third Grade What a Load!

Ready? Here it comes: an amount of homework that really deserves to be called a “workload.” Math's going to involve multiplication and division. Spelling words will be multisyllabic (“refrigerator”) or involve variations on a root word (“refrigerate,” “refrigerated”). Books are bigger now, and your kid will have to answer questions about characters and plots.

Your Roles:

Attention Grabber: Give your child strategies to sharpen his focus, says Tobias. When he's reading, to keep him from skimming, “have him place an index card just below the line he's reading, pushing it down as he goes. That way, he'll focus on one line at a time.” He'll read faster, too, since his gaze won't wander.

Drill Master: This is when many kids are expected to memorize times tables. One great way to drill your kid, says Tobias, is by building a “memory pyramid”: “Have him recite ‘two times two is four,’ for example, out loud. Then have him close his eyes and repeat it. Then ask him to open his eyes and say ‘two times two is four, and three times two is six' out loud.’ Keep going, adding to the list.’” The reasoning? “It burns into your memory through repetition. Closing your eyes reinforces the information further.”

Refreshment Provider: Review lessons regularly—ideally, twice a week. “If you don't reinforce them within 48 hours, your brain dumps the information,” says Tobias. “Say to your child, ‘Hey, remember those spelling words we learned on Monday? Let's go over them again now that it's Wednesday, since you have that test coming up at the end of the week.’”

•SECRET-WEAPON WEBSITE: QUIZLET.COM LETS YOU MAKE FLASHCARD DECKS AND TURN THEM INTO A TEST, COMPLETE WITH PHOTOS YOU UPLOAD. CUSTOMIZE A FEW FOR EASY DRILLING.

•A TYPICAL NIGHT'S HOMEWORK: 30 TO 45 MINUTES

•BIG-PICTURE GOALS: TEACHING KIDS TO INFER THINGS FROM WHAT THEY READ; EMPHASIZING ACCURACY AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL

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